We all go through this – a divine Sunday full of house chores. And one look at your overflowing laundry basket, after a tiresome week, gives you the jitters. If you own a good make fully automatic washing machine, you know after putting in the laundry, you can relax and focus on completing other chores.
And then, one fine Sunday morning, you wake up to see the same stuffed laundry basket and go to start the washing machine, and it doesn’t work, your heart sinks.
And just out of the blue, the piece of machinery you thought the best buy with reliable technology, and a long and error-free life, has just ceased to function. So what’s your plan B? How do you get a week long bag full of laundry get cleaned? Do you drag yourself down to the laundryman and pray that he cleans it today, or you run down to the laundromat and man-handle 20 others to get your laundry done before theirs?
Washing machines are a complex set of equipment. There are so many functions in this one piece of appliance that it may become difficult for a layperson to diagnose the issue and repair it. So we have consolidated the best solution considering the time you have in hand. With this article, we share recommended precise but simple steps you can take to diagnose an issue with your machine and then fix it.
A piece of advice: Before you lay your inexperienced hands on your washing machine, make sure it’s unplugged. Disconnect the grounding wire and the water hoses as well.
For the Beginners: How to initiate the task of fixing
Diagnosis is possible, even for the beginners. You can find many Do-It-Yourself videos on how to fix your washer on many video channels. All you need is a bit of patience and a basic know-how on washing machine system.
We have listed step by step prognoses of a non-functional washer, and then apparent repair technique for it:
- Start with basics of basic – Check electrical connection to your machine
The first check – Is your washing machine plugged in and receiving power? Most of the time the glitch is due to interrupted electricity supply in the socket, wire not connected correctly, or a damaged cord. In case, the components mentioned above are in good shape then there could be a chance of a blown a fuse. Either of these is an easy fix.
But if the appliance is receiving power and still malfunctioning, then probably the issue is routed inside the machine. For this, you need to keep the product booklet handy to understand the internal environment of the appliance.
After the electrical supply check, look into the water inlet point. If you turn the knobs wrongly, or the hoses are coiled up, it stops the supply. A quick check on these may resolve the problem. Do check if both water faucets are turned on and that all hoses aren’t coiling up anywhere. If your washer includes a water-saver button, see to it that the button is depressed.
- Clogged and stuck lint and dirt causes malfunctions
There are times when suddenly your laundry starts to stink even after a fresh wash. The reason could be that your machine is dirty. Keeping the washer dirt and lint free is essential. Hence a regular cleaning regime should be conducted every 15 days (depending on the usage and quantity of laundry cleaned) clearing all the dirt and detergent and lint from inside the washer. Built-up lint, undissolved detergents, and dirt clog the drain pipes of the machine and avoids the proper mix of soap and water. It leads to bad smelling clothes even after the wash.
There is a very easy remedy to clean the wash tub. Use 1/2 cup of baking soda or 3 cups of white vinegar in the tub filled with water. Run a full wash cycle with these ingredients in the machine. This process will remove all stains and clogged material in the drain. If the drain is still clogged, try the washing the tub with a combination of common-use ammonia and mild detergent. Rinse the tub with clean water thoroughly and later wipe it with liquid bleach. Run the complete wash cycle once again before you put any laundry in it for cleaning.
Caution: Rinse the tub thoroughly with water before wiping it out with bleach. The ammonia and bleach combination forms potentially dangerous fumes called chloramine which could cause health issues like asthma or bronchitis attacks, mild skin irritation, or digestive/kidney problems.
- Digging deep: Disassembling the Washer
After the necessary checks are done, and the problem still exists, the next step is to disassemble the washer cabinet. The washer cabinet is primary function area of the machine and houses most of the electrical gears of the washer. The location of the electricals varies by manufacturer, but mostly they are placed behind the control panel. For this check, it is advised to keep the product manual handy at all times. The manual mentions how to disassemble your particular machine make in the right way.
Caution: always check that the power cable and water hoses are disconnected before you disassemble the cabinet.
Washers are difficult to repair, mostly because there is a multiple set of complicated controls that you need to go through.
- Fixing the Switches
The lid switch is the safety switch on the washer. If the lid switch stops working, or if the switch socket is clogged with detergent, it will automatically disable the machine from running. To fix the lid switch, you first need to unplug the appliance and clean the lid switch port using a thin stick – wooden manicure stick or a chopstick. In case the cleaning doesn’t work, remove the top of the cabinet to get access to the switch. Check for any loose screws, which can cause the switch to move on closing the lid or as the machine goes through its cycles. Also, check the terminals of the switch to make sure they’re tight.
Temperature Selector Switch – This switch regulates the temperature of the water inside the tub and also controls the water level required for each cycle. If the switch is faulty, remove it and get it checked by an expert as it requires special tools to test. If the issue is with both water temperature and tub filling cycles, both the temperature switch and the timer may be faulty.
Water Level Control Switch – You can find the switch next to the temperature switch. A small hose connects the water tap to this switch that supplies water into the tub. If this hose is loose and falls off the connection, the water in the tub overflows. To solve this problem, cut about 1/2 inch off at the end of the hose and use a push-fit to reconnect it to the switch. The switch itself can also malfunction, resulting in tub overflow and other water-level trouble in the tub. If you suspect this switch is faulty, take it to a professional for testing.
- Washer Timer Malfunction
The washer timer has primary controls of the appliance connected to it. Because of its complexity, you should get the timer repaired by a professional and not just anybody. However, in case you find the timer faulty, you can conduct few sanitary checks:
- Remove the control knobs and the panel that covers it to gain access to the timer. Check on all the wire connections, closely, that link the timer to other parts of the washer. If you find any loose connections or try re-plugging them by pushing them back into position, which should usually fit into their terminals like plugs. Use long-nosed pliers to push them into place to avoid breaking the wire connections. Avoid pulling the wires by hand.
- Using a volt/ohm meter (VOM) set to the RX1 scale, test the timer to check if the RX1 scale is at its default setting (at zero) of the meter. Now disconnect the power connection of the timer and clip one probe of the VOM to each lead. On testing, the VOM should be at zero which mean the timer is working. The timer is a multipurpose switch, henceforth, you need to turn it through its cycle to check each pair of terminals. The meter reading should be zero at all of the levels. If any of the readings are above zero, the timer is faulty and replace it with a new one.
- If you need to replace the timer, first unscrew and disconnect the old one. Install the new timer but ensure the make is specifically for your appliance only. Disconnect the old wires one by one, and start connecting each corresponding new wire to the control panel as were formerly connected. Recheck if the wires connections are properly made and then screwing the timer assembly into its original place.
- Servicing the washer tub and valves
If these problems occur – washer is overflowing, is excessively noisy, won’t fill at all or fills very slowly, the water is the wrong temperature – then the water inlet valves may be faulty. These parts are easy to locate and also easy to replace, at minimal cost. If you find the inlet valve malfunctioning, first see to it that all water faucets are fully turned on and connected to the hot and cold water inlets of the valves. Then proceed to check the screens in the valves. In case they are clogged, you need to clean or replace them. If water is not entering the tub, set the temperature control to the HOT setting. If there is no water, adjust the control to the WARM setting. If only cold water come out, the hot-water inlet valve broken. Repeat the procedure for the cold-water setting by setting the control first on COLD followed by WARM. In case the tub overflows, unplug the washer and if the overflowing continues, check if the valve is stuck open. In any of these cases, the valves probably need to be replaced.
- Servicing the Agitator
The agitator is the fin-like equipment inside the tub shaft which helps in the rotation and cleaning action. If the agitator’s fins are cracked or broke, it may tear the laundry badly during the wash cycle. You can cut the splinters with pliers and lightly filing the plastic and smooth it out. But if the agitator is severely damaged, get it replaced.
Placing a new agitator is not difficult. Start with unscrewing the cap on top of the agitator and pull up the agitator and it should lift out. If it doesn’t move, slap it on the side with a hammer. If it still doesn’t rise, put wedges below the rim of the agitator to dislodge it. Now place the new agitator and fasten the agitator cap securely.
Sometimes, damage to the snubber – a pad-like device – located under the agitator cap, causes the machine to vibrate excessively. The snubber comprises of a suspension spring in it which can be checked by lifting it up from the agitator cap. In case the spring is broken, or if the pad is visibly worn, replace the entire snubber. If your appliance model doesn’t have a snubber, check for the noise at the suspension unit between the tub and the machine cabinet. The fins or pads of the suspension unit may need replacement. In the case of excessive damage, best is to replace the entire unit. For an additional check for the noise, examine the basket support nut that holds the basin in place. Secure the screw properly, and if you can’t, replace it.
- Checking and Fixing the Water Leaks
Tracing water leaks is usually quite a frustrating task because it is often difficult to locate. The issue could be a loose hose connection, broken hose, cracked component or a broken seal. A hole in the tub can also occur due to severe degeneration with time. In case the entire part is faulty, it is advised to get it replaced. Tightening a loose water hose can eliminate most leaks.
- Servicing the Water Pump
The machine part that is used to its maximum capacity is the water pump. It takes the highest toll due to its high usage leading to early or quick degeneration of the component. When the pump fails, you can hear a loud rumbling inside the machine, or see a failure of the water to drain from the tub. Here is a simple solution:
- Check the drain hoses to make sure they’re draining properly. The drain hose is found at the back of the washer. You can remove it easily to check if the water clears out and nothing is clogging it. Extract the filter screens from the valve ports in the washer or the hoses themselves and clean it thoroughly. The filter screens keep debris from collecting in the tubes and can become clogged. Hence cleaning the filters, regularly, is important to avoid clogging. Reattach the hoses. If the machine still makes the rumbling sound or doesn’t drain, you need to examine the pump.
- To get access to the pump, you need to bail and sponge out any water in the machine tub. Tip the washer over front side, using a thick blanket or pad to protect the washer from getting scratched or damaged. Remove the back service panel. The pump is at the bottom of the machine, but with the unit tipped over, it’s easier to remove it from the back than through the bottom of the washer.
- You can see two large hoses attached to the pump with a spring or strap clips. If the clips are the spring type, you can release them by pinching the ends of the clips together with pliers sliding the clips down the hoses. If the hoses are coiled up or crimped at these connections, straighten them out completely and reconnect them. In case the appliance still doesn’t drain, then you need to remove the water pump completely.
- For removing the pump, loosen the bolt that holds the drive belt taut and slightly jolt the motor on the bracket to loosen the belt. Separate the motor from its place and unscrew the pump.
- You need to take the pump apart, perhaps to a cleaning area because the trouble could be lint, dirt or pieces of cloth. Clean all the debris inside the pump and from the water tubes. Reassemble and hook up the pump again and see if it works. If this doesn’t work, you need to replace the pump with a new of the same make.
- Once you get the right make of the pump for your machine, install it by placing it correctly into its original position. Reattach the mounting bolts to the pump housing by moving the motor back into position. Tighten the rubber drive belt by prying it taut with a hammer handle or pry bar.
- Finally, reconnect the hoses leading to the pump.
- Belts and Pulleys and Motors
The belts and pulleys are the components that help run the motor and the washer tub of the washing. Because of the usage it suffers the maximum toll and may become worn or damaged with time. A damaged bets or pulley prohibits the machine to function normally or sometimes stopping the washer entirely, making it noisy. Fortunately, a damaged drive belt is easy to fix.
Remove the back panel of the washer to gain access to the belt. Unscrew the bolt on the motor bracket and move the motor to loosen the belt. Then remove the old belt and fix the new one into place on the pulleys. Use a hammer handle or a short pry bar to push the motor into position. This will put tension on the new belt, while you tighten the bolt in the adjustable bracket. The belt should be placed correctly onto the motor bracket with the right amount of slack. If the belt gets too loose, it will slip on the pulleys, causing the machine to malfunction. If it’s too tight, it will wear very quickly and will probably become so hot that it will start to smoke or smell.
A loose pulley also causes problems. The pulleys are secured to shafts with setscrews around the hub of the pulley. The problem could be due to a faulty motor, but it can be fixed by tightening the pulleys and adjusting the belt.
In most cases, motor issues should be handled by an expert. To save yourself the expense of a service call, remove the motor from the washer and take it to a professional. You can access the motor by removing the back panel of the washer. The motor is mounted on an adjustable bracket. Reinstall the repaired or new motor yourself.
We mentioned in the beginning washing machines are complicated appliances with multiple functioning components. But regardless of the fact, washers typically have a life of more than eight years, if handled correctly. The troubleshooting steps provided in this article can help any layperson keep the appliance in a healthy state making it work for you for few more extra years.
However, it you still feel that you aren’t able to do it yourself and need an expert technician to get your washing machine fixed, you should check out the best online platform in your city to hire washing machine repair contractors. YouDo, a popular online platform assists you to get access to the best washing machine repair contractors in your city.
A customer review that came across to us:
Sridhar Madhukumar, Oct 2016
I have a Samsung washer and it is not letting water in. I check the water inlet valve for any clogging but the problem persisted. I logged onto https://youdo.com/india and sorted help from the experts there. I was happy with the detailed suggestion in their response and did not leave guessing for whacking my brain to understand. It was the water inlet valve issue and they got it fixed with minimal charges. I basically had to replace and my machine starting working in no time. Thanks to the experts registered on this forum. You guys are great.
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